On to The Lighter Walk

Friends,

I have moved my writing to a new blog. I have changed the direction in my writing to seeking and finding God in our environment. 

Please follow my new blog: The Lighter Walk and take the next part of my Walk with God with me!

Click here to read more. 

Thank you,

Maggie 

Advertisements

Walking Outside the Lines

I’m a rules person. I try not to drive more then the ‘acceptable’ five miles an hour over the speed limit. I try be on time (meaning early) for my appointments. I don’t lie about my age to get a cheaper rate; nor did I ever do that for with my child. I want people to think well of me and see me a ‘virtuous’ or ‘law-abiding.’

I’m also a horrific sinner. Yup, me the ‘rules girl’ have broken all the rules, one way or another. And for many years I have carried the guilt and shame of my past with me. Yes, I have confessed most of those lapses in following the rules and as open as I have been about God’s forgiveness of my actions, I still let them define me. I still stopped short of embracing my ministry because someone might unearth and reveal my sins for the world.

Fear can be so crippling. If we let it, it will run our lives. It will cause us to do things out of emotional blackmail and often drive us to make poor decisions, or worse yet, no decision. It can stop us from stepping into the life God intends for us  (a calling) because we think we aren’t good enough, not worthy to stand, or that our past has left us irreparably damaged. Continue reading

Celebrating Someone Else’s Joy Without Jealousy

Upon hearing about something wonderful in another person’s life–maybe its a new home, a new car, a new love, or a wonderful vacation–have you found  yourself saying, “I’m so jealous.” Now we may think we mean “I’m so happy for you,” but what we are actually saying is we wish we were in their position and we can’t really be happy because we are thinking about our own shortcomings or missed opportunities.And that invalidates the joy your friend has just shared with you because you are not acutally happy for them and you aren’t coming alongside them to celebrate. Some might even say its a bit passive aggressive.

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word! (Proverbs 15:23) Continue reading

Splendor Day

Have we missed the splendor of God’s earth?

 Sunrise gongs the rush to work,

Wind in our hair; combs set to repair.

Rivers running to the sea: only bridges to destinations.

Pleasure distorted in success.

 Day in; day out

Sunrise to sunset.

Patterns lived without living.

Missed delight for opportunity.

Forced annual enjoyment;

With minds distracted.

Beauty taken for granted.

Missed joy in being.

 New this; new that

Propel us forward

The things we hold

While peace slips away.

Revolution of our days,

Turning over again and again.

Harbored misery and discontent

While calm eludes us.

Imagined peace realized.

Simplicity revived.

Newfound reason for the day.

Old things pass away.

New growth made fresh.

New reason for being.

Real joy.

Real peace.

Found in God’s splendor this day.

(Inspired by Ecclesiastes Chapter One

 

Joyful Anticipation

Author and coach, Gary Collins writes that our visions “must be about potential for the future but anchored in the realities of the present.”[1] Our vision is about where we want to go and are best achieved when we are enthusiastic about achieving our goal(s). Having a joyful anticipation about our future will keep us moving forward when we encounter obstacles or stumbling blocks on our journey. We need to be mindful that there will be times when it seems like there is little progress forward. If we are not careful, those are the times our vision might fade.

So you have a vision. You wrote it down. You shared it with another person. You prayed. You asked others to pray. And now you are thinking about implementing your vision. When your vision began to emerge you probably were excited and overjoyed because you could see a purpose for your life. You knew what God was calling you to do. You were overjoyed and anticipating living the dream.

And then you realized that the end goal is farther away than you would like. You can see where you are and where you want to be and it is a huge cavern.

There are times when the anticipation of achieving our goals or living the vision may overwhelm us and we avoid setting smaller, achievable target goals. I’m what StrengthFinders calls an “activator.” I want to get on down the road. I have a ‘let’s get it done” mentality. I don’t do slow. I am frustrated because I have been told by experts that it may take three years or more to successfully achieve my vision. At times I have lost the joy and questioned the vision, only to talk to others and realize that I am not working the plan. I am trying to cut corners and becoming frustrated because I haven’t laid a strong enough foundation to keep the process moving forward. The joy returns when I am willing to step back and do what needs to be done, trusting that with every day I am moving closer to the goal

This is the building the bridge to fill the gap time. This is the time for thinking about short-term goals that you can readily achieve and upon which you can build some success. This is the time to start asking the tough questions about where you are, where you want to be, and how you will get there. It is time to develop an action plan that you will commit to executing. Bridge planning is critical to closing the gap and maintaining your joy while keeping the vision in your sights.  You need to start from where you are. If you start building your bridge without laying those first few planks—boring as it may seem—your bridge will collapse and you may begin to think you were wrong about your vision.

Don’t let your lack of planning undermine your joy and take away the anticipation for your future. If you have been fortunate enough to discover your vision, articulate your vision by writing it down and sharing it with someone you trust. You are looking down a long tunnel and it is important that you clarify the image of your vision. No matter how clear our vision seems it will become blurry if you fail to also articulate the steps you will take to get from here to there. Don’ t let a lack of planning steal your joyful anticipation for the future.

“Passion is empowering. You may bludgeon it, suppress it, squash it, or lose sight of it, but it is a given, a constant. Your passion is ready and willing to provide all the stamina and inspiration you need.”

Richard Chang, The Passion Plan as read in Christian Coaching, Gary R. Collns.

[1] Collins, Gary R. (2009) Christian coaching: helping others turn potential into reality. NAVPRESS: Colorado Springs, CO

The Joy of Receiving

I’m a giver. My mother was a giver. I learned it from her and I heard about it in church. Giving is good—it blesses others. Over the years I have found great joy in seeing someone else light up because of a gift they received. I admit I have even had some pride when I have given to someone in need. Giving is good.

On-the-other-hand, I am not so great on the receiving end. Probably pride there too. I hate to admit when I am in need. I hate to ask for help. I am meek about seeking opportunities that I think I am qualified for because then I have to receive the opportunity and my humility side kicks in.

I watched my mother as a giver. She would sneak a little money in someone’s purse on Sunday if she knew they were having a rough patch. She would pick up something extra and give it to a neighbor telling them she got it by mistake and didn’t want to return it. She did without so her children could have things. She was such a quiet giver that there were people whose lives she touched we didn’t know about until she died. I want to be that kind of giver.

She also would never ask for anything. The few times she did, I think she was mostly rejected. She settled a lot and probably suffered for not seeking help. She waited to ask for help for her marriage, her drinking, and even her health. In her pride and her shame she hid the truth about her pain. If she had only been willing to ask and receive the blessing, her life could have been lived with such joy.

I gave away most of my household possessions when I moved last fall. It was so much fun to empty the clutter out of our lives and to see others benefit from the things I didn’t need. I had to ask for help in the process. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t do these things on my own. I was terrified that no one would see how desperately I needed help. Yet, when I asked my friends and my church family they came out of the woodwork to help me. I even had a friend show up at my door in the middle of the night with Advil when she read on Facebook how tired and sore I was.

I discovered an unbelievable joy in their giving. I was so amazed by their love. I was so blessed.

As I rebuild my household, still keeping it pretty basic, my friends continue to bless me. I have new vacuum, new living room furniture, and now a new bed. I am learning to ask when I need something and to allow someone to experience their gift of giving without my feeling shame. As I think on these moments my heart swells with overwhelming warmth and joy.

I also realize that the asking and receiving fear in my life was a stumbling block to healing the wounded areas in my life. I held back from receiving the love of God and the healing grace of Jesus because I didn’t think I deserved it. I held back from admitting that my way of living was destructive because I didn’t want to tell anyone what was really going on. I kept my pain a secret as I smiled and moved forward—except I didn’t really move forward because I was trapped in my past. I thought my sins and mistakes were just too overwhelming to let anyone get too close to me. I put up a wall because I thought once you get to know me you will be out of here.

When I became willing to receive help and forgiveness for myself; my whole world changed. If you are sitting in pain or sitting with needs, don’t let your shame trap you another minute. Start on your knees asking for God’s forgiveness and help. Then get up off the floor and reach out to that one person you think you can trust and tell them the truth. Let the healing begin by letting someone know you are ready to receive their help. Do it today. Your blessings of new life are waiting for you.

This post is dedicated to the wonderful givers at http://www.thehardmanteam.com/

Courage to Change

Living a purposeful life often requires us to make changes in our behaviors and attitudes. I can tell you from personal experience, that change is never easy. It takes courage. It takes willingness. It takes a first step. Maybe the adventure you are setting out on will change the lives of many people, or maybe it will just improve the circumstances around you. Regardless of the reason you have decided to begin to live a more purposeful life, you know it will require change. And it may require a degree of tenacity to make those committed changes in your life.

I have been drawn to The Beatitudes (Matthew 5) lately. Just as Psalm 25 was where I found forgiveness and grace, The Beatitudes is where I am finding courage to move forward with my dream. I want to live a life for God. I have never actually done that before and it is terrifying. I can’t begin to imagine the changes that God has planned for my life, but in these words I am reminded that he will bless me and I will find a joy I have never known before. That part excites me!

I have had this dream of helping other women to climb out of the dark life that is keeping them chained and unable to see the light of God’s purpose for them. I have wanted to reach my hand out and give them courage to change their circumstances. I have wanted to find a way for them to see their potential and to walk with them as they grow in faith and as their life circumstances improve. I have wanted to be God’s instrument and I have been afraid because I wasn’t sure I had changed enough yet. And I was, and probably still am, afraid that I would be laughed at and mocked and told that I wasn’t good enough.

Thankfully, I have a few good people in my life who have asked me the tough questions about dragging my feet. They are helping me to see the Holy Spirit working in my life and to “get over myself.” Purposeful living isn’t about us, it is all about God and how he will use us. Once we realize that and take that first step forward in obedience to his plan, the whole world will open up. This vision for my life that I have sat on—God knew it would take time. He let me sit in the dark just long enough for me to be ready to move forward. Baby steps forward. I have started and will see where it all goes.

How about you? Are you ready to take a first step toward purposeful living? Are you ready to start by saying: “I need to change a few things?” What is on your list of things to improve? Do you need to ask someone for help? Ask. Ask someone to walk the road from here to there with you. Pray that God will provide that person for you. Come out of the dark. I know it is scary but the light is so much warmer and brighter.

“God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. Be happy about it. Be very glad! F. And for a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted too.” Matthew 5:11-12 New Living Translation